The Commentators, 7” vinyl 45, The Oval, Surrey, England


In 1985 Paul Hardcastle had a bit of a hit in England  with a Vietnam War song called 19. This was two years after Redgum’s I Was Only Nineteen.

Here are some of the lyrics…

In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26…

In Vietnam he was 19.

In inininininin Vietnam he was 19.

The shooting and fighting of the past two weeks continued today

25 miles west of Saigon

I really wasn’t sure what was going on.

Nininini Nineteen, 19, Ni-nineteen 19


Maybe it was that stutter that attracted comedian Rory Bremner, who as The Commentators, later in 1985 released N-N-Nineteen Not Out inspired by the thrashing England received by the West Indies at home in 1984. During that series the England captain David Gower averaged 19.

It went like this with Brenmer doing the voices of Richie Benaud, John Arlott, Brian Johnston and Jim Laker (who took 19 wickets in a Test match).

19notoutbackSmallN-n-n-n-nineteen. Nineteen. N-n-n-n-nineteen. Nineteen. 

They fought the most disastrous series in Test history.. 

They fought the most disastrous series in Test history. 

In 1984, the Test series against the West Indies seemed like just another runner. But it wasn’t. 


It was different in many ways, and so were those who did the batting. 

In 1933, the England captain’s average was 35. 

In 1984, it was n-nineteen. N-n-n-n-nineteen. Nineteen. N-n-n-n-nineteen. Nineteen. (Nineteen)

But, of course, it was the scoreboard on the cover that caught my eye when flicking through a newly arrived stack of singles at a North Fremantle antique shop recently. It’s the Surrey Cricket Club home at The Oval with the gasometer in the background.

The scoreboard doesn’t make sense. Such was Bremner’s obsession with 19 he made the total 19 when both the not out batsmen were on 19. And had the last wicket falling at 19 while batsmen one and two were at the crease (that’s a bit technical).


One comment

  1. I wonder what Paul Hardcastle made of his anti-war song being parodied for a cricket yarn? I don’t think Redgum would have been very impressed if, say, Austraian comedian The Twelfth Man, had parodied I Was Only Ninenteen.

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